Via Francigena. The Road to Rome

Via Francigena joins Europa Nostra Manifesto

The European Association of the Via Francigena ways EAVF is proud to contribute to cultural heritage enhancement in the post-Covid 19 phase by signing the Europe Day Manifesto “Cultural Heritage: a powerful catalyst for the future of Europe”.

The Europa Nostra together with the European Heritage Alliance launched the Manifesto to mark the 70th anniversary of the Schuman Declaration and the launch of the process of European integration.

This Manifesto conveys a strong message of solidarity, hope and unity to Europe’s leaders and citizens at a time when Europe and the entire planet are struggling to overcome an unprecedented crisis caused by the COVID-19 virus. Through this Manifesto, representatives of major European and international cultural heritage including the EAVF express their readiness to contribute to Europe’s immediate social and economic recovery, as well as to the longer-term advancement of the European cultural heritage. More than 600 signatures have already been collected!

The Europe Day Manifesto puts forward 7 ways in which cultural heritage can act as a catalyst for positive change.

The first way called “Healing Europe” refers to cultural heritage as a resource for holistic physical and mental wellbeing. The Via Francigena providing an opportunity of slow travel along historic routes, natural landscapes, vernacular sites, places of worship and magnificent examples of historic architecture and monuments, encompasses emotional, social, cultural and spiritual experiences to its pilgrims, facilitating healing of their wounds and difficulties.

The second way “Being Europe” demonstrates how cultural heritage can provide a much-needed anchor of the European identity. The Via Francigena ensures valorisation of shared European values and identity via a transnational route, originated in the medieval times. It provides a chance of reconnection to the roots and traditions of the four countries crossed.

The next way “Digitalisation” proves a necessity of digital cultural resources accessible to public. The EAVF provides access to the interactive map, description of steps and cultural heritage along the route. During the Covid-19 emergency crisis the EAVF has been working on creation of digital community of pilgrims and hikers to provide a safe space to share feelings, exchange experiences and prepare future plans under a motto “travel with your heart from home”.

As per article 4 “Greening Europe” the Via Francigena enhances its cultural and natural landscapes and provides an opportunity of slow travel along these wonders, contributing to the fight against climate change and development of green economy.

The fifth way “Regenerating Europe” directly applies to the Via Francigena, as the routes mostly crosses rural areas and little villages generating economic benefits to local communities and providing opportunities for creation local businesses along the route as well as development of artisanal production.

The sixth way “Experiencing Europe” explicitly refers to tourism as a catalyst of positive change. The Via Francigena easily allows physical distancing and enhancement of proximity tourism, which is most likely to recover first, that is why the route significantly contributes to the post Covid tourism relaunch.

Way 7 “Embracing Europe” sees the cultural heritage in Europe as a means of cooperation and solidarity in the world. The Via Francigena, the itinerary which crosses 4 countries – England, France, Switzerland and Italy – is a route of understanding, shared experience and intercultural dialogue. The route hosts pilgrims from all over the world walking hand to hand along the path from the Medieval times, facilitating understanding and solidarity.

The Europe Day Manifesto demonstrates the significant role played by the cultural heritage in Europe especially in difficult moments on the Covid 19 and the post virus recovery. The Via Francigena contributes to the efforts of tourism and culture professionals all over the world and provides an opportunity of slow travel of cultural and social discoveries. 

You can sign the Manifesto on the Europa Nostra website  https://www.europanostra.org/europe-day-manifesto-cultural-heritage-a-powerful-catalyst-for-the-future-of-europe-just-released/

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